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Mitsui invests in Portuguese biofuels unit

Portuguese energy company Galp has reached FID on a biofuels unit and a 100 MW electrolysis facility at its Sines refinery. Mitsui will take a 25% stake in the €400m biofuels JV.

Portuguese energy company Galp has taken a final investment decision on two projects that will reduce the carbon footprint of its Sines refinery, attract investment from Japanese trading company Mitsui, the companies said.

Galp and Mitsui are joining forces to produce and market advanced biofuels from Sines by creating a 75/25 joint venture (JV) and investing in a large scale 270 ktpa unit adjacent to the Sines refinery.

The unit will use waste residues to produce renewable diesel (hydrotreated vegetable oil – HVO) and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), allowing to avoid c.800 ktpa of greenhouse gas emissions (Scope 3, CO2e), when compared to its fossil fuels alternatives.

This partnership brings together the vast industrial expertise of both companies, combining Galp’s market and operational synergies with Mitsui’s global presence, also supporting the procurement of the plant’s feedstock needs, according to a news release from Galp.

The plant will use Axens’ technology and the consortium Technip Energies / Technoedif Engenharia has been selected as the main Engineering, Procurement and Construction Management (EPCM) provider.

The total investments in the new plant are estimated at €400m.

Galp will operate the plant and plans to consolidate proportionally (75%) all businesses related with the JV.

Galp separately will invest in the construction of a 100 MW electrolysis plant, to produce up to 15 ktpa of renewable hydrogen.

The project will allow the replacement of 20% of the existing grey hydrogen consumption of the Sines refinery and may lead to greenhouse gas emissions reduction of 110 ktpa (Scope 1 &2, CO2e).

The electrolysers will be supplied by renewable power, originated from long-term supply agreements, also leveraging on the Galp renewable power asset base. The unit will use industrial recycled water, with expected annual consumption representing less than 3% of the average annual needs of the refinery.

Plug Power was awarded the order for the 100 MW proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolysers, whilst Technip Energies will be the main EPCM provider.

The total investments for this green hydrogen project are estimated at €250m.

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Air Products to build commercial-scale hydrogen refueling station in Edmonton

The hydrogen refueling station will be Air Products’ first in Canada and the first commercial-scale hydrogen refueling station in Alberta.

Air Products, the world’s largest producer of hydrogen, plans to build a multi-modal hydrogen refueling station near its new net-zero hydrogen energy complex under construction in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

The hydrogen refueling station will be Air Products’ first in Canada and the first commercial-scale hydrogen refueling station in Alberta. The station plans were announced today at the Canadian Hydrogen Convention during a fireside chat with Eric Guter, Air Products’ Global Vice President, Hydrogen for Mobility.

“This station is the next step in Air Products’ commitment to Edmonton and the province of Alberta and will serve as a model that can be replicated throughout Canada to grow the hydrogen economy, reduce emissions and assist Canada on its path to achieving net-zero by 2050,” said Guter. “Canada is well-positioned to be a leader in the clean energy future, and we are proud to build on Air Products’ investment in Western Canada to help accelerate the use of hydrogen as an emissions-free transportation fuel across the nation.”

The hydrogen refueling station is supported in part by $1 million (CAD) in funding from Natural Resources Canada’s Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program.

The new station will include two hydrogen refueling lanes with dispensers for heavy-duty vehicles such as commercial and municipal trucks, and Air Products’ own truck fleet, with a filling time on par with conventionally fueled heavy-duty trucks. In addition, the station also will have two fueling positions for light-duty hydrogen fuel cell cars. The state-of-the-art, high-capacity, high-efficiency station is scheduled to open in early 2025 and will be available to retail customers. Using proprietary compression technology, the station will have a capacity of up to six tonnes of hydrogen per day. It will be located in Northeast Edmonton near Air Products’ transformative new $1.6bn (CAD) net-zero hydrogen energy complex.

The complex will use an advanced process technology that enables the cost-effective capture of more than 90 percent of carbon emissions for permanent sequestration safely underground. In addition, to avoid the indirect emissions associated with using grid electrical power, the project includes a 100 percent hydrogen-fueled power generation unit. This unit is oversized to power the production facility and supply clean power to the Alberta grid.

The complex also will be integrated with neighboring Imperial Oil Limited’s new renewable diesel facility, using innovative engineering. Imperial will produce renewable diesel from locally sourced non-petroleum feedstocks, using a process that produces a biogenic renewable off-gas (ROG) by-product. This ROG will be used as a feedstock within the Air Products hydrogen complex, displacing natural gas and further enhancing the overall carbon emissions profile. The combination of utilizing a renewable feedstock and power export more than offset the remaining 10 percent needed to achieve net-zero at the new hydrogen production facility.

The net-zero facility will connect to Air Products’ existing 55-kilometer pipeline network in the Alberta Heartland to help refining and petrochemical customers reduce the carbon intensity of their operations and products.

Air Products also has announced plans to open a new project delivery office in Edmonton. The Global Engineering and Manufacturing Technology Equipment office will be a cross-functional space including engineering, product, process gas, and air separation unit product line functions.

Air Products currently operates three hydrogen production facilities in Alberta, and also operates a hydrogen production facility, a 30-kilometer pipeline network and a liquefaction facility in Sarnia, Ontario.

Air Products works across all facets of the hydrogen value chain, including production, distribution, storage and dispensing and has been a pioneer in hydrogen fueling for decades.

The company operates the world’s largest hydrogen pipeline system, located in the U.S. Gulf Coast, and is a world-class liquid hydrogen supplier. Air Products has hands-on operating experience with over 250 hydrogen fueling station projects in 20 countries and the company’s technologies are used in over 1.5 million fueling operations annually.

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Clean Vision chooses West Virginia for $50m hydrogen facility

The Nevada-based company will leverage a $50m total investment in a manufacturing facility converting plastic feedstock into precursors for recycled content plastics and clean fuels, including hydrogen.

Clean Vision Corporation has signed a Memorandum of Agreement to collaborate on a manufacturing facility focused on recycling plastic feedstock into precursors for recycled content plastics and clean fuels, according to a news release from the governor.

The MoA is between the company’s Clean-Seas West Virginia subsidiary and the West Virginia Department of Economic Development. The total investment is $50m over three years.

Upon completion of construction and commencement of operations, the facility, located in Quincy in eastern Kanawha County, will process plastic for conversion to clean energy at a rate of 100 tons per day, starting in 2024, with plans to scale up to 500 tons per day over time.

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Nutrien evaluating $2bn blue ammonia project in Louisiana

Nutrien, a publicly traded company based in Canada, is evaluating Geismar, Louisiana as the site to build a clean ammonia facility.

Nutrien, a publicly traded company based in Canada, is evaluating Geismar, Louisiana as the site to build a clean ammonia facility, according to a news release.

Building on the company’s expertise in low-carbon ammonia production, the project will proceed to the front-end engineering design phase with a final investment decision expected in 2023.

If approved, construction of the approximately $2bn project would begin in 2024 with full production expected by 2027.

The new clean ammonia plant would use natural gas and high-quality carbon capture and sequestration infrastructure at its existing Geismar facility to serve agriculture, industrial and emerging energy markets.

The plant is expected to have an annual production capacity of 1.2 million metric tonnes of clean ammonia and capture at least 90 percent of CO2 emissions, permanently sequestering more than 1.8 million metric tonnes of CO2 in dedicated geological storage per annum.

Nutrien has signed a term sheet with Denbury Inc. that would allow for expansion of the existing volume of carbon sequestration capability in its Geismar facility, if selected as the final site of construction.

The company has also signed a Letter of Intent to collaborate with Mitsubishi Corporation for offtake of up to 40 percent of expected production from the plant to deliver to the Asian fuel market, including Japan, once construction is complete.

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California renewables firm in talks for green fuel co-development

A utility-scale solar and storage developer based in California has started outreach and discussions to have green fuels projects co-developed at some of its larger sites in the western US.

RAI Energy, the California-based solar and storage developer, has started to engage with other companies about developing green fuels along with its utility-scale projects, CEO and owner Mohammed S. Alrai said in an interview.

RAI recently took a development loan from Leyline Renewable Capital. That transaction ends a process launched by Keybanc first reported by The Hydrogen Source.

Alrai remains the 100% equity owner, he said. The liquidity from Leyline will last about two years.

The company’s most impending projects are in Colorado and California, Alrai said. Discussions around green fuels envision a partner coming in as a co-developer and customer for RAI’s renewable power.

“We’re definitely open to entering into conversations with all stakeholders,” Alrai said, adding that the effort could require capital raising. “We will be coming to the market to potentially raise equity.”

RAI is moving toward long-term ownership and operation of projects, he said. The company could also sell projects to raise capital.

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Exclusive: Zero-emission locomotive start-up in Series B capital raise

A locomotive start-up focused on the US market for zero-emission freight trains is undergoing a Series B capital raise, with sights on a much larger Series C raise next year.

OptiFuel Systems, a provider of zero-emission line haul locomotives and generation solutions, is conducting a $30m Series B capital raise.

The South Carolina-based firm is seeking to finalize the Series B by the end of this year, and plans to use proceeds to advance production of its zero-emission technologies for the rail industry, which represents a massive decarbonization opportunity, CEO Scott Myers said in an interview.

Meanwhile, the firm will seek to tap the market for around $150m for a Series C next year, Myers added. The company is not working with a financial adviser. 

While the Series B will focus on bringing to production some of OptiFuel’s smaller rail offerings, such as the switcher locomotives, the Series C will be mostly dedicated to progressing testing, manufacturing, and commercialization of its larger line haul locomotive.

The company is also considering making its own investments into digesters for RNG facilities, from which it would source the gas to run its RNG-fueled locomotives. As part of its offering, OptiFuel also provides refueling infrastructure, and envisions this aspect of its business to be just as profitable as selling trains.

“We anticipate that we would be the offtaker” of RNG, “and quite potentially, the producer,” Cynthia Heinz, an OptiFuel board member, said in the interview.

A systems integrator, OptiFuel offers modular locomotives for the freight industry that can run on zero-emission technology such as renewable natural gas, batteries, and hydrogen. The company recently announced that it will begin testing of its RNG line haul locomotive, which is a 1-million-mile test program that will take two years and require 10 RNG line haul locomotives.

Image: OptiFuel

The company’s target market is the 38,000 operating freight trains in the U.S., 25,000 of which are line haul locomotives run by operators like BASF, Union Pacific, and CSX. Fleet owners will be required to phase out diesel-powered trains starting next decade following passage of in-use locomotive requirements in California, which includes financial penalties for pollution and eventual restrictions on polluting locomotives. Other states are evaluating similar measures.

“The question is not will the railroads change over: they have to,” Myers said. “The question is, how fast?”

Following completion of testing, OptiFuel aims to begin full production of the line haul locomotive – which has a price tag of $5.5m per unit – in 2028, and is aiming to produce 2,000 per year as a starting point. The smaller switcher units are priced between $1.5m and $2.5m depending on horsepower.

OptiFuel has held discussions with Cummins, one of its equipment providers, to source at least 2,000 engines per year from Cummins to support its production goal. 

“That’s a $10bn-a-year market for us,” Myers added.

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EXCLUSIVE: 8 Rivers co-founder departs firm

A co-founder and executive has departed the North Carolina-based firm, which recently announced an ammonia project in Texas.

Bill Brown, a co-founder of the technology commercialization firm and clean fuels developer 8 Rivers Capital, has retired from the company, a spokesperson confirmed via email.
According to Brown’s LinkedIn profile, he is serving now as CEO of New Waters Capital. He co-founded 8 Rivers and also served as CEO and CTO in this nearly 16 years there.
Brown did not respond to a request for comment.
According to 8 Rivers’ website, Dharmesh Patel is serving as interim CEO. The company recently announced development of the Cormorant Clean Energy ammonia production facility in Port Arthur, Texas
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